Last year, the Steelers cut quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s base salary from $11.6 million down to the minimum of $900,000. The $10.7 million became a guaranteed payment, with the cap hit spread equally over the four remaining years in Roethlisberger’s deal.
The move added $2.675 million in cap charges to each year of the contract, pushing this year’s cap number to a belt-bending $19.6 million.
As MDS pointed out earlier in the afternoon, the Steelers plan to do it again, without extending the deal. But with only three years left on the contract, the Steelers can’t take as large a chunk out of Roethlisberger’s cap number this time around.
Once again, Roethlisberger’s base salary is $11.6 million. The Steelers could drop it to the 10-year minimum of $940,000. The $10.66 million difference would then be converted to a guarantee, with the amount spread out over the final three seasons of his contract.
This would create $7.1 million in cap space. But it also would increase Roethlisberger’s cap number by $3.55 million in 2014 and 2015. With last year’s restructuring, that’s another $6.225 million to be carried in each of the final two seasons of Roethlisberger’s deal.
And with a base salary of $12.1 million due in 2014, it converts to a minimum cap number of $18.325 million next year.
Whatever the Steelers do, they should wait until March 5 to finalize it. If they reduce the deal before then, Roethslisberger’s cap number would drop out of the top five in 2013 — and the exclusive franchise tender the Ravens would have to pay to quarterback Joe Flacco would drop again.